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1985 Sinclair C5

Sir Clive Sinclair was a very rich, eccentric genius who amassed a fortune in the manufacture of revolutionary- indeed visionary- electronic devices and products. These include calculators, watches, meters, pocket TV's(1975), micro computers (1980), and home computers (1982- when computers were still in dedicated rooms).

Like TV and computers, the idea of producing an electric vehicle had been a constant preoccupation for him. In the '70's, ecological issues were in the forefront, and the British government passed legislation that allowed electric-assisted cycles to be used without a license, as long as they didn’t exceed 15mph.

Sinclair's directors were critical of spending corporate money on this type of research, so Sir Clive sold a small fraction of his company shares which netted 12 million pounds for the cause. The chassis design was by Lotus, the motor by Polymotor, and the polypropylene body the largest one-piece injection moulding to date. After negotiations for the former DeLorean plant failed, the C5 was built in a Hoover factory in Wales.

The much-publicized launch was an unqualified disaster. It was held in the middle of winter and the C5's bodies skated on the snow. The press was merciless. Safety and Advertising Standards organizations got involved. Sales and production nosedived, and the company was wound up in October of the same year, with an unfazed Sir Clive out of pocket some 8.6 million pounds.

Manufacturer: Sinclair Vehicles, Camberley, Surrey, England

Model: C5 Motor: Philips Electric Body: Polyester
Yrs Built:Jan,1985-Oct.85 No. Cylinders: Chassis: Steel tube
No. Produced:1,000 Displacement: Suspension Front: None
No. Surviving: Horsepower: 250 w Suspension Rear: None
Length: 1744 mm Gearbox: Steering: Handlebar
Width: 744 mm Starter: Brakes: Cable
Weight: 66 lbs Electrics: 12 v 3 Wheels: 16 – 2"
Interior: 1 seat Ignition: Top Speed: 15 mph

© 2002